The unexpected and amazing ripple effect seeing your name in print

I knew this book was coming in the mail. I was stalking my mailbox every evening. When I saw the envelope marked “par avion” from British Columbia, I knew exactly what it was and tore it open standing right there in my pencil skirt with my laptop bag slung over my shoulders.

 

#untrending (buy it here, your tweets will thank you)

 

I met Vicki last summer at a workshop with 10 ladies during an exceptionally steamy day in Portland (left coast) at Alexandra Franzen‘s loft. When Vicki, talked about her book idea, she said something that really struck. I’m paraphrasing, but it went something like,

“Your posts and tweets are forever. Do you really want your last tweet to be some angry rant?”

 

No. No I don’t.

 

I’m showing off when I tell you that I was already majorly focused on keeping all my posts positive. No complaining, whining, or ranting. No negative comments on blogs or anywhere else. There’s enough negativity in the world, I’m making a conscious choice not to add to it.

 

As she described her book idea, she mentioned she hadn’t landed on a title. “UNTRENDING!” I blurted out – probably interrupting someone (sorry about that).

 

We kept in touch (she’s Canadian – my people!) so I knew her book was coming out soon. She told me I was mentioned in it – WHAT??? So honored. And curious… what did she say?

 

Unable to contain my curiosity at the mailbox that evening, I flipped through the book. The book came with crayons…CRAYONS you guys. Beautiful black and white drawings marked the start of a new un-chapter – a lovely invitation to add some color and personality. I flipped to the acknowledgments and saw my name.

untrending jacqueline fisch

One, it’s in the same mother-loving paragraph as Alexandra Franzen. Author, writer, coach, and who’s work I admire. My name in print.

 

I cried.

 

I always cry when I see my name in print.

 

First was when I had a recipe published in the Green City Market Cookbook.

green city market jacqueline fisch

Second was when I published my own book.

unfussy_mom_cover

 

Third, was when I got a gift certificate from my company to get some printed copies of my book.

unfussy mom books

 

Every time, I get chills. I feel like I’m going to explode with gratitude.

 

After wiping my tears of joy, I handed the book to Jacob (8) in the backseat as we headed to hockey practice.

 

“Read it aloud.” I told him.

 

“Mommy, why are you in this book? You helped her name the book?”

 

“Yes hunny, I sure did. This is why you see me on the computer so much. I’m writing stories. I’m connecting with people. This is the third book my name is printed in – pretty cool isn’t it?”

 

“Ya!”

 

Few moments of silence.

 

Jacob – “I’m going to write a book.”

 

“Awesome! I can’t wait to read it. I’d be happy to help you with it.”

 

When we got home I gave him a fresh notebook, “Will this be okay to write your book in?” I told him when he’s finished we can type it up and get it printed.

 

He wrote that afternoon, and that evening while at his sisters’ horseback riding lesson. He also wrote before bed – staying up past 9pm to work on his story – excited to tell me each time he finished a page.

With a quick read, me smiling ear to ear, I told him I loved it.

Jacob writing

He BEAMED.

 

At 6am I was headed out the door for an early start. I heard him practically running down the hall. He had his notebook in hand and was headed for the couch. “I’m working on my story today mommy.”

 

“Awesome, I can’t wait to read more!”

 

The only thing more rewarding than writing, and seeing my own name in print, is seeing him light up from writing.

Thank you Vicki, and thank you ripple effect.

 

Naming books, taglines and company names is one of my favorite things to do – almost more than drinking wine. Want me to name something of yours? Email me. If you want to make sure we’ll like each other, check here first.

 

 

unfussy & unproductive – August 19th

uuaug19

Happy unproductivity! Here are a few things to check out while you sip your coffee and pretend to be working.

(1) Wanna eat like you’re at the Olympics? Check out this piece I wrote for Fooda and make your own moqueca! I added shrimp and Portuguese red pepper sauce – then I enjoyed all the leftovers for the next three days. Like many of us, it gets better with age.

(2) Tony Robbins fan? I only know a handful of people who aren’t – either way, most people have a passionate opinion about him. Have you watched his latest documentary on Netflix – I’m Not Your Guru? Loved it. Watch it, then listen to Tim Ferriss’ interview with him this week.

(3) This has been on the internet a while, but always a good reminder when you’re worried about drawing inspiration from others. I know a lot of artists and writers who get tripped up with this. Moral, of the story, don’t – Steal Like an Artist. 

(4) Ever pop open your laptop with the best intentions to GSD (get shit done – a new acronym I learned this week) and find yourself with a dozen browser tabs open and no idea what you were supposed to be doing? If you identify the potholes and keep your shit together for just 10 minutes, you can change all this. Epic, right?

(5) I don’t watch the news, pretty much ever. then I listed to Trust Me, I’m Lying from Ryan Holiday – and even though I was already suspect (translation: trust NOTHING online and check all sources!) this reaffirmed my belief that the news is basically brain junk.

(6) Joe Morris, a friend of mine recently left the ad agency life. Now he’s making art – both the kind for your walls and the kind you ride. We attended his gallery opening last week, basically, I want to live there.

 

PS – miss the last version? More time killers here!

 

unfussy & unproductive

Perfect reading for screw-the-dog-Friday, avoiding-the-gym-Saturday, or pretending-laundry-doesn’t-exist-Sunday.

Here’s a roundup of links to click through and a perfect excuse to be unproductive for a while.

(1) I finished most of the kids’ back to school shopping. I went alone, it was wonderful. For the rest, I’m ordering from Amazon. Have you seen these reusable baggies that’ll replace plastic zippered bags? Check out these and other eco-friendly radness from my friend Ashlee Piper over in this news segment. I just hope the kids don’t accidentally toss them!

(2) Love chocolate AND you’re cutting out sugar and carbs? I’ve made these salted macadamia nut chocolates three times in the past week. The first time I skipped the nuts and they were still delicious. How have I been buying store-bought chocolate all this time?

Chocolate Fat Bomb with Macadamia & Sea Salt, photo courtesy of KETOGASM.com

Mine weren’t quite as pretty. I used Himalayan pink salt!

Pink-salted macadamia nut chocolate fat bombs.

Pink-salted macadamia nut chocolate fat bombs.

(3) I had heard of Bulletproof coffee a few months ago and admittedly thought the idea of putting butter in your coffee was disgusting. When Ryan started drinking it, I took a sip and OMG! I don’t say this lightly – GAME CHANGER. Here’s how you make it. My personal recipe -16 oz. brewed organic coffee (I haven’t tried the Bulletproof brand coffee), 2 tbsp. grass-fed unsalted butter, 1 tbsp. MCT oil (coconut oil will do if you’re trying for the first time), and 7 drops of vanilla-flavored liquid stevia. I’m experimenting with adding maca and cocoa powder. Throw it all in the blender for 20-30 seconds, sip it, and work like a BOSS until noon. Did I say, GAME CHANGER? It might make you a better human. 

GAME-CHANGER, in an appropriate mug.

GAME-CHANGER, in an appropriate mug.

(4) What happened to the lunch hour? I find it amazing and a little hilarious that communication pros (like me!) take an hour. Good for us! Where do you land on this cool infographic from Fooda?

(5) Have you heard of the You Are Beautiful Sticker? I order them in bulk and stick them to everything. You’ll find one on the back of my phone, on notebooks, and water bottles. The rest I tuck into restaurant receipts, library books, and tip jars.

(6) Obsessed with Moleskins? You know – the notebooks. Check out this new concept in Milan – coffee, shop, art. I’ll be gone for a week you guys, this is where you’ll find me.

(7) Have a book lover in your life but don’t know what books to buy them? Check out these awesome lit gifts. Also, my birthday is in September – you know, if you weren’t sure what to get me.

(8) Personality-test junkie? Have you taken the Enneagram test? You can take it here. Then listen to this insightful interview with Amanda Johnson and Wendy May. I’m a 4.

(9) Have you heard of Notes from the Universe? I get a lovely reminder from the internet every day (you choose how often to hear from the universe though). This is what Thursday’s message was….

I can imagine that from your perspective, it must seem like some truly awful things happen in time and space. So, if you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to weigh in.

Jacqueline, you live in a world of illusions. A world that springs from a much deeper and far greater reality. And while at times the illusions are indeed ugly, with your physical senses you only see the tip of the iceberg. If you could see the whole, you’d discover that the unpleasantness was only the tiniest piece of a most spectacular puzzle that was created with order, intelligence, and absolute love. You’d see that contrary to appearances, in the grandest scheme of things, nothing is ever lost, no one becomes less, and setbacks are always temporary. And you’d understand that no matter what has happened, everyone lives again, everyone laughs again, and everyone loves again, even more richly than before.

Hubba, hubba
    The Universe

And a few posts you may have missed – How to love engaging with your network when you’re an introvert and a remarkable way to make decisions.

 

How do you unlock the feeling of a home away from home?

TorontoIn today’s age of internet dating turned long-distance dating, turned forever-and-ever-amen, I have one very big and very practical question – where the hell do you live once you’re married?

No, seriously.

How do you choose?

When you meet someone from your hometown and get married, there’s no decision, we’ll live HERE of course!

But what if you didn’t have the luxury (or curse – you choose), of marrying your high-school flame and staying in the same old town?

Ryan and I didn’t meet on the internet – we met in a dive bar in Florida (the unexpected love story). He’s from upstate NY, and I’m from outside Toronto – 400 miles apart.

When we decided to get married we said to each other, “Okay, so who’s moving?”

I was new to a job that I didn’t care much, and was making diddly and Ryan was marginally more established, so I said, “I’ll move to NY then.” And did just that.

It sucked so bad.

Real talk here guys – it was one of the most emotionally overwhelming times of my life.

Adjusting to cohabitating, being married, leaving home for the first time, no ability to pay my bills, and a husband who commuted for 5 hours a day to NYC (I wish I was kidding).

I like to blame US immigration first – because I wasn’t allowed to work or leave the country for 6 months. Think about that for a second. I also could have just bucked the fuck up and adulted. It took time, and a lot of patience (thanks, Ry!) but I was spit out the other end and mostly stuck the landing.

I went from self-sufficient paying my own damn way to being 100% dependent on someone else. Also, I couldn’t leave to go visit my family and friends in Canada, couldn’t continue my career and had basically nothing to do but sit home and eat bonbons (actually, I mostly ate peanut M&Ms).

I had NOTHING to do but have Rachel Ray teach me how to cook, get a dog (miss you Wesley-roo!) and walk him for six hours a day, and fill the rest of the time at the gym, and cleaning up surprise piles of dog poop. Sidenote – now that I’m older I can think of a gazillion things I’d do with all that free time now.

While spending what little extra cash we had (or didn’t) on new placemats and candles trying to create that feeling of hominess, the biggest problem was that it never actually felt like MY HOME.

A few months later, Ry had a job opportunity in Indianapolis, I still wasn’t allowed to work, and the cost of living difference between NY and Indy was the difference between Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks – so we moved.

Then we kept moving – to a new place in Indy, to a high-rise in Chicago, then a Chicago beach condo, then Canada, then Chicago, now somewhere south of Chicago that no one has ever heard of, and when people ask me why I moved there, I tell them, “I have no fucking idea – ask my realtor”.

Why all the moving? Part job, part opportunities, part wanting to be near family, part why the hell not?

 

But all – searching.

 

I keep feeling like I’m living in someone else’s house and the rightful owners are going to come home any second and send me packing.

Searching for something we both won’t find while living somewhere other than where we grew up.

After our big summer road trip a few weeks ago – Poughkeepsie, Boston, Toronto – I noticed something.

In NY, Ry was different. He was ease. He was calmer, in his element – a familiar space.

I recognized it in him after I recognized it in myself a week later while rolling into my dad’s driveway.

I felt at peace, I knew where everything was – a lot has changed, sure – there are new strip malls being built every day, but it feels comfortable, real, easy.

Familiar.

 

Awesome – so we can both feel at “home” but only 400 miles away from each other.

 

So what are we to do?

I don’t know. I don’t have the answer. I knew something was wrong when we were nearing the end of our road trip and I was crying in the car a few blocks from home and couldn’t exactly pinpoint why. It’s not home, it all feels so temporary – I thought.

Because up until now it has felt temporary – we’ve moved 8 times in the 12 years we’ve been married. Also, the idea of a “forever home” makes me want to run away. But what exactly am I running from? I don’t ever want to buy a house that I plan on spending the next 25 years in. More like 2.5 (and time’s creeping up on expiring on our current location! Where should we go next?).

Because I didn’t feel at home in NY, and Ry didn’t feel at home in Canada, we’ve been trying to create a feeling somewhere else that just won’t exist. You can’t create that feeling of “I’ve been here forever,” if you haven’t. Someone is always compromising.

Home is where the heart is. Home is where your family is.

Blah, blah – cliché, I know.

These are all wonderful sayings, and I love our property (until something breaks, then I’m ready to throw my hands up in the air and move), and look forward to kissing the kids’ heads before bed every night no matter where we are, but…

Will I ever feel the same way about living somewhere as I do at “home” (the place I grew up)? Or is this just part of the plan and I’m lucky enough to just keep looking? I do feel very fortunate that we have the ability to can pick up and live almost anywhere we want – thanks, Internet!

Will all this moving make the kids want to be nomads someday?

Will they wish things were different? 

“If I am never sure where I am meant to be, I just look at my feet and there I am” – Vicki McLeod in her book, #untrending

For now, I’m going to focus on making wherever home is, feel like home, remembering where my feet are is where I am, and making sure my kids feel at home with me – it’s all I can do.

 

PS – you might also like, less space = less stuff = more lifeeven less stuff = even less space = even more life and 3 simple love notes that changed my life forever.

 

 

 

I missed an opportunity to help – and I feel like a jerk

sharebuck

A few weeks back I sat in a Chicago vegan restaurant sipping a frosty pinot grigio eating a braised kale, sauerkraut, and tempeh something or other. I looked up and saw a lanky man in old faded jeans take a seat just outside the window where I was sitting with a piece of cardboard and a pen.

I watched him work on his sign for a good 10 minutes while I ate lunch.

Poor guy was using a pen. You know how many times you have to go over text when you’re using a pen and you don’t have a sharpie? A GAZILLION.

It was clear enough that I could read most of what he was writing.

I read his intro, “Hi, my name is Shane. Fallen on hard times…if you donate, then thank you.”

I had an idea…

Maybe it was my suburbanite upbringing and not having any idea what it’s like to actually be hungry or want for much. I live in an abundant world that I have to consciously not eat like I have an abundance.

I thought, maybe I could help him.

I’m a mother-loving communications expert and all. My clients pay me to help them find the best words to communicate complicated, awkward, and sometimes downright scary things they have to say.

Could I help this guy? What if a well-written cardboard sign could get him an extra $20 today? What could he buy with that $20? Would he not worry about food for the next three days?

As soon as I saw his intro, I pushed my flavorless kale bowl aside, tore a sheet of lined paper out of my notebook and started writing.

 

What I wrote

I was writing attention-grabbing alternatives for Shane to include on his sign. Words that would get straight to the point, and get him more of what he needed. But first, he needed words that stand out – and didn’t read like every other cardboard sign on the streets of downtown Chicago.

Because you know what, every single person that walked by him looked directly at him while he sat here and wrote his sign. I could tell people were trying to read it as they passed. They saw him. But didn’t want him to see that they noticed.

What is wrong with us?

 

When self-doubt rears it’s ugly green head

I wanted to help him. I truly thought some cardboard-sign-sparkling would help him. But then self-doubt kicked in and I worried I’d be offending him by offering him some suggestions. I mean, I don’t go around submitting grammar corrections to all the terrible web copy and bad signage I read. (Sometimes I really really want to.) Doing this would definitely make me an asshole.

 

Would offering this man with the cardboard sign my unsolicited advice make me an asshole too?

 

I scribbled some ideas while ignoring the voice in my head…

  • I’m Shane, I’m human. I see you. Thank you.
  • I’m Shane. I’m here. Thank you for seeing me.
  • Thank you for believing in me.
  • Thank you for your generosity
  • …and a bunch more

I also planned to find the nearest CVS or Walgreens, buy him some posterboard, a few sharpies and give him the lone $20 bill from my wallet.

He started packing up – presumably to take his corner for the afternoon rush.

“Oh fuck”, I muttered, as I folded up the paper I was working on, tucked a $20 inside and ran out the door. I wandered down the same alley he traveled and came to the end. Left or right? Which way did he go? If I was a homeless guy who needed money would I go towards the Board of Trade building or towards Lake Michigan? I picked the Trade building. I stood there on each street corner looking for him. I couldn’t spot him and his cardboard sign anywhere.

Defeated, I tucked the paper holding the $20 into my pocket and headed towards the car. Hoping that I’d run into him on my way. I rehearsed in my head what I’d say, promising I didn’t mean to offend him when I handed him a list of 10 suggested signs for his cardboard sign.

But I didn’t see him.

A lesson in losery

I was too caught up in trying to be the most helpful, most amazing that I didn’t get to help him at all. The $20 is still in my wallet and I didn’t get to give it away that day.

I should have just ran outside and given him some money right away. Or maybe sat with him and helped him write some killer copy for his cardboard sign. What’s the worst that could have happened? In the least assholy way I know how, I could have really, genuinely helped him. Instead, I sat there, doing something he didn’t ask for.

Homeless

Shane, next time, I’ll be ready.

 

PS – if you liked this, maybe you’ll also like When I shut my laptop, went into the bathroom and cried and Which way to the arena?

 

 

 

 

the magic of being intentional

 

 

Be intentional.

Speak intentionally. This means not inflecting your tone at the end of a statement.

Speak confidently.

Just ask the question. Don’t apologize. Just ask.

If you don’t know something – ask. I promise you won’t look stupid – UNLESS – you preface your question with, “So this may be a stupid question…” Anything following your unnecessary disclaimer will sound like a stupid question – cross my heart.

Don’t blame me, it’s your fault for telling me you had a stupid question. Get that voice out of your head and it will get out of your communication.

Are you acting tentatively?

If you’re tentative, everyone else will either tentatively follow you, or turn the other way – and find someone who is acting with purpose.

When you’re not sure what your next move should be. Left or right, are you getting in the Starbucks line or not?

Fake it.

Pick a path, and follow it.

When you act with intention you set the stage.

For greatness. For whatever the hell you want.

When you step up and know exactly what you’re asking for without wavering – what you want will be heard.

Loud and clear.

Be intentional with your time. Spend most of your life minutes doing things you enjoy. Because why not? Memento Mori.

Be intentional with your energy. Are you going to give your precious energy to someone who tears you down? Are you going to walk around as a worry pants all day?

 

What intentional, deliberate, action will you take today?

 

PS – the deathbed thought and Ladies – what the world wants you to stop doing, right now

 

 

a remarkable way to make decisions

I have a new barometer for when I need to make a decision and I’m not sure what to do.

I ask myself this…

If I was on my deathbed would I regret this?

Granted, this can apply to many meaningless topics – best to practice with small decisions before messing with the big ones.

Like:

Should I go to Starbucks today? 

Deathbed thought: Gee, I wish I drank less soy hazelnut no foam lattes

 

Should I open a new bottle of wine?

Deathbed thought: Man, I wish I drank less wine

 

Should I grab another hunk of dark chocolate?

Deathbed thought: I wish I ate less chocolate in this life

 

Should I leave work at 2pm to take Jacob to hockey practice?

Deathbed thought: I wish I worked more instead of leaving early for practice

 

Should I work less?

Deathbed thought: I totally regret working less – all that extra time spent doing things I loved was stupid

 

Should I write a blog post about this topic most would call meaningless?

Deathbed thought: You totally wrote too much. What a waste.

 

Should I book the ticket to the book writing workshop?

Deathbed thought: Naw, you shouldn’t have invested in yourself

 

Should I tell Ry I just finished the last drop of wine?

Deathbed thought: No, he should drink faster

There’s a problem with this kind of thinking – it could lead me to make decisions that might be seen as irrational by others.

Decisions like quitting my job, dying my hair lavender, moving across the country, moving to another country.

In the end, these decisions aren’t necessarily reckless or irrational. It depends on your risk tolerance.

I’ve lived in 3 states, and 2 countries. A date 300 miles from home in the Adirondacks with a pretty much a stranger led to the ride of my life. Every time I pack up to move, people called me crazy.

Ryan brings home a new bike (for the third time), brings home chickens, ducks, a dog – crazytown they say.

What if it sucks? They’d say?

And what if it doesn’t?

And – what’s your deathbed thought about it?

Because in the end, that’s all that really matters.

PS – Death upsets us because it reminds us of our own mortality

Dear kids, this is what mommy really wants for Mother’s Day

 

Dearest family,

Last week, over guacamole, chips and tacos, when I asked you, “Hey kids, do you know what next Sunday is?”

You stared at me with your beautiful blank little faces in between unapologetically large scoops of guac (husband, this includes you).

I politely and ever so gently reminded you, “It’s Mother’s Day.”

“Oh.” You replied. Still surprised.

Then I asked you, “What are you doing for me?”

And you gave me more blank looks.

It’s okay, your blood sugar was probably a little low, the guacamole was delicious, and maybe you didn’t hear me over the crunches of corn chips fresh out of the fryer, or the slurping of my margarita between sentences.

I really don’t expect much, and this, of course, is just me giving you a hard time. It’s the one day of the year I get a hall pass to act like a spoiled brat. You get the other 364.

Truthfully, I don’t want anything for Mother’s day. I have everything I need.

Now, this isn’t a trick. I have everything I need.

I love every shrinky dink necklace, picture frame and every little piece of art you created with love.

Especially the card you made for me last year.

 

MothersDayCard

“Mom, thank you for feeding me”

 

I love how you know just how to keep it real.

I mean, I have an Amazon wish list (who doesn’t?), you know, in case you want to get me something and need a little guidance. If you don’t, that’s cool too – I’ll buy it for myself. One of the greatest perks of being a working mom.

 

If you’re thinking about doing something nice, here are some easy ideas for you:

  1. Sleep in. You. Not me. I want you to sleep in. For some reason, your supersonic sixth sense detects when my eyelids flutter open and you pop out of bed like a strawberry pop tart. Yet, you can’t hear me when I ask you to feed the dog – so weird. I want you to sleep in so I can get up early and have some quiet time. Time to read, write, make tea, go for a walk.
  2. Wake up happy. When you do get up, you can come join me, I’ll give you all the squeezes.
  3. Ask Daddy. For breakfast, to help you find your ballet shoes or your hockey pucks, the ketchup. Daddy is good at looking for stuff too. Yes, I know, he’s not as good as me, but you need to keep training him. Asking him where to find mom doesn’t count.
  4. Send me away. I love you, and I’m happy about the quality time we get to spend together. See, I’m an introvert. What this means is I need a good amount of alone time to recharge. I’m a better mom when I have lots of quiet time. You could send me away for the day, the weekend, heck – the whole week! I don’t need to go far, I’m happy to go to Starbucks or a bookstore and wander around for a few hours.
  5. Go away. I say this in the nicest possible way. I’m not being mean, but if you prefer to go out instead of sending me out, that’s cool. I’ll stay home, have some wine and catch up on some sunshine and reading.
  6. Pick up your stuff. Every time I step on a toy I feel happy inside, even though I sometimes say some bad words – especially if it’s a Lego piece. I really do love stepping on your crap, I get to have these little people in my life who leave reminders of how full of life and play you are all over the house. If I step on said piece of crap too many times, or if it really hurts, it may have earned a spot in the garbage bin. Save my feet, save the stuffed seals, keep your stuff in your room.
  7. Treat every day like Christmas. You know how on Christmas morning you say, “I wish every day was like Christmas!” It can be – act like it’s Mother’s day every day, and your wish will be granted.

 

That’s all. This is a pretty reasonable list. I’ll be happy with just one of these free items.

Whatever you choose to do, or not do is perfect. Just like you.

 

Love,

Mom

 

PS – remember to put your gym clothes in your bag

PPS – thanks for leaving your giant turd in the toilet for me to find – I’m really happy to see how healthy you are

PPPS – an open letter to women without kids, soon-to-be-moms, new moms, and moms with oodles of practice

 

vegan, not vegan, vegan, maybe

 

 

Vegan. Not Vegan. Vegan again. Maybe.

Veganish?

I think.

 

You guys, I really, really want to keep food unfussy, but sometimes it sounds fussy.

No dairy

No meat

No seafood

No gluten

Seafood

Meat, no eggs

No meat

When I run through the list of things I don’t eat – it certainly sounds fussy.

But to keep it real, my attitude about it needs to stay cool.

I believe we should all eat whatever the hell we want. I don’t give a flying frisbee what you eat and I’ll never give you heck for it.

So why am I talking to you about this today? Because I’m a big believer in telling stories. And it might just be what someone needs to hear today.

 

Let’s get you up to speed

Back in 2010, we all nixed dairy. An Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist wanted to chop Jacob’s tonsils out and stick tubes in his ears. He wasn’t even two yet you guys. Mama bear had to find some answers. Thankfully, I didn’t have to look far, or long. Stop number two after the ENT office was a naturopath in the same building where I was getting massages (side note, in Canada, most companies give you an annual massage allowance).

Me with my monthly sinus infections and farts every time I look at yogurt. Jacob with his vomity past, spitting up after every snack since birth, constant mouth breathing (though Ry attributes this to his Canadian-ness), and back-to-back-to-back sinus infections, bronchitis, and antibiotics.

Our naturopath said, “try avoiding dairy for a few weeks then reintroduce it and see how you do”. I had some ice cream after a few weeks and wanted to die. Jacob was doing so much better without it I didn’t bother reacquainting him with cow secretions (sounds gross, but really you guys – that’s what it is.) Read the full story here. 

Reality (fact) check:

  • 6 years later, both Jacob and I haven’t had a sinus infection and haven’t needed antibiotics (though he does get the stink eye from time to time – kids are gross yo)
  • Talia, approaching 5, has never had a glass of milk, or yogurt, though she sometimes sneaks some goldfish under the bleachers like a rebel – has NEVER needed antibiotics
  • Jacob and I still breathe through our mouths when we’re thinking hard, writing (me), or playing video games (J)

Feeling a gazillion times better after keeping dairy off our plates, I removed meat. Same thing – I just felt better. Until I didn’t.

I was vegan until I wasn’t. I woke up one day and just wanted a steak. So I had one.

Now, I’m being forced to say I’m vegan again.

PETA is not sitting here with a gun to my head, but I’ve been forced to answer some hard questions that leave me with no choice.

The big one:

If I can’t kill it myself, what right do I have eating it?

See, my backyard is growing a farm. Ryan leaves the house for coffee, ends up at the local Tractor Supply Company (TSC) for PVC pipe, returns with 6 chicks. Returns 2 weeks later for chicken feed, returns with 2 ducklings. At least he returned with what he set out to get. The PVC he needed on trip one had to wait for another day.

kids-chicks

As Jacob read a bedtime story to the chicks, Ry explained this is where chicken wings come from.

 

Drop the mic.

 

What???? Even though we had told him where chicken nuggets come from a thousand times, once he had named the baby chickens, the thought of eating them was absurd.

He proclaimed, “I’m never eating anything with the word chicken in it ever again.”

Jacob_chicken

Until of course, his hockey team heads to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch. Nugget what?

When Ry told the kids what was going to happen when they were done laying eggs – something about chopping their heads off, Jacob screamed, “NO!” while Talia (4) had a face of, tell me more about this beheading business daddy, and “when do I get to chop their heads off?” may or may not left her mouth.

T-chicken

Then, I had bison spaghetti for dinner, and steak in my salad for lunch the next day.

Jacob had a half rack of ribs.

 

Hypocrites.

All of us.
This is what Ry called us. I couldn’t argue – he was right.

 

The thought of killing a chicken, duck or even a larger animal like a cow or pig myself, at my hand – be it a flick of my wrist, makes me shudder. I couldn’t do it. I don’t need to try to know I couldn’t.

So should I pay someone else to do it for me?

I feel like I’d be taking the easy way out.

And totally detached. From my food, from life, from myself.

Detaching is easy. And hey – if you can kill your dinner yourself, cook it and eat it – I admire that. Honestly, if you can do it, that’s cool.

I can’t. So I don’t think I should eat it.

If I do, it makes me a big, fat, hypocrite.

Why am I telling you this today?

I don’t want to convince you to join the V team. Even when I “wasn’t vegan” – I was like 95% vegan.

Curiosity.

I’m curious about what the kids will decide when they see their first chicken being killed for meat. In the end, they’re going to eat whatever they want – and they should. In the meantime, though, if I’m cooking, which is 99.9999% of the time – they’re having vegetables.

I’m curious what they’ll lean towards eating when one parent will eat anything and the other is more selective. 

Unjudgy, unfussy. Keep it curious.

PS – I’m not vegan anymore and vegan and an omnivore sittin’ in a tree…

Ladies – what the world wants you to stop doing, right now

 

cropped-Jacq_rest.jpg

The other day I was part of a meeting with a handful of presenters. In the audience was mostly IT folks, 80% were men. For the record, no one was in a suit.

One lady, towards the back, sitting away from everyone else who was seated in rows of tables had, at least, one question for each speaker. Questions are almost always a good thing – it shows you’re engaged and listening – always appreciated by a presenter.

Every time she started her question, I cringed.

Not because she had a question, questions are cool – it was how she started off.

“Sorry, I have a question…”

“I have a question – sorry!”

“Sorry, but…”

The world wants you to stop apologizing and stop saying you’re sorry.

For the love of all things good and holy and wonderful – stop apologizing for nothing!

Listen, ladies, I’m Canadian and I don’t even say sorry that much.

Soar-eeeeeeeee (Canadian translation).

Yes, I’m talking to you ladies. Because in the course of my day, men almost never say they’re sorry. Can you remember the last time a man apologized? Especially for something like – HAVING A QUESTION. Though, some of these men maybe should – another topic for another day.

The incessant apologizing of course, doesn’t always apply to question-asking.

Here’s how these scenes play out:

  • Someone opens a door on the other side when you’re about to go through – sorry!
  • Someone is in your way – sorry!
  • Someone accidentally bumps you – sorry!
  • I don’t agree with you – sorry!
  • I have feedback – sorry!
  • I can’t do the thing / go to the event / help you – sorry!

 

Girls, stop apologizing.

 

First, are you really sorry? Should you be sorry that someone else opened the door at the same time as you? NO! It’s not your fault.

Did you do something wrong?

Did you do something to hurt me?

Unless you just cracked me on the skull – sorry!

If you did, by all means, say you’re sorry (soar-eeee).

Let’s go a little further and look at a definition.

Feeling distress, especially through sympathy with someone else’s misfortune.

In a poor or pitiful state or condition.

If you didn’t do anything wrong, and unless you truly pity the condition of someone, ‘sorry’ can easily be swapped with this:

 

Excuse me.

 

Simple, elegant and still perfectly unfussy and polite.

Ladies – disagreeing, not having time, having an opinion, opening a door like a synchronistic swimmer, all very good reasons to NOT say you’re sorry.

How would you feel if this post was titled: ‘Sorry ladies, but you really should stop apologizing.’?

Why should you stop?

Starting a statement, any statement, with an apology instantly lowers your credibility and fogs up your message.

We can’t focus on what you’re saying because we’re too busy being on the receiving end of your misplaced sympathy. Why is she sorry? What did she do? Should I be angry?

Oh, she just reached for the salt the same time as me.

Sorry.

Not sorry.

Excuse me.

Your homework. How many times did someone apologize to you today? I’d love to hear your insights. You can email me here.

PS – why we’re all waiting for you to stop complaining about work and how to talk to your kids about your job